About


In 2013, the seeds for watch love work were planted in a heart. After two years of growing and changing, that heart found a partner in City Leadership, and their work together was enabled by local philanthropists. A dream team of volunteers joined hands the next year to find the stories and nurture the project. Here is a little about each of them.


Volunteers


Adolfo “Fifo” Bermúdez
was born in Managua, Nicaragua and grew up in San Salvador, El Salvador, where he attended bilingual schools that gave him a foundation in the English language. In 2005, Fifo received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing, from Ave Maria College, then returned to San Salvador where he worked for Dell Computers and later, a local meat processing plant. After deep reflection and meditation, Fifo decided to move back to Nicaragua to work as a houseparent at an orphanage in the outskirts of the capital of Managua. In the fall of 2009, Fifo met Ellen Ranson, a former college soccer player who was serving a 5-month internship with a faith-based organization helping women transition out of prostitution and coaching the boys at the orphanage on weekends. Fifo and Ellen were married in Nicaragua later that year. They and their four beloved dogs moved to Ellen’s hometown of Memphis in the summer of 2013. Since that time, Fifo has worked at a nonprofit law firm, the Community Legal Center, where in November 2015 he became a Board of Immigration Appeals accredited representative. When he is not assisting the immigrant population of Memphis, Fifo enjoys playing the ukulele, painting, drawing and riding his skateboard.

Darrell Cobbins is a native of Memphis, Tennessee. He earned a BA in sociology and anthropology from Rhodes College in 1997 and a Masters in Business Administration from the Fogelman College of Business at the University of Memphis in 2007. A third-generation real estate professional, Darrell serves as President of Universal Commercial Real Estate, LLC, a commercial real estate firm he founded that year. He is a recognized leader in his community. In 2008, he was appointed by the Memphis mayor to the five-member Board of Commissioners of Memphis Light Gas & Water. From 2010-2011, he assumed the role of Chairman, becoming at that time the youngest Chairman in the history of MLG&W. Darrell serves on the National Alumni Board for the University of Memphis and the Greater Memphis Chamber Board of Directors and Chairman’s Circle, and on the boards of Just City, the National Civil Rights Museum and the Family Safety Center of Memphis. Darrell is also dedicated to the arts in Memphis, currently serving on the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee for the Brooks Museum of Art. Darrell is married to Mikki Cobbins, and they have one son.

A native of Jackson, Tennessee, James Dowd earned a bachelor’s degree from Union University with a double major in Psychology and English and a minor in Secondary Education. He attended graduate school at the University of Mississippi, pursuing studies with a concentration in English. After a brief teaching career, James transitioned from education to journalism and enjoyed two decades as an editor, columnist, reporter and multimedia content producer. He spent the majority of his media career at The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, where his coverage areas included education, faith and values, politics and business. Following his tenure as a journalist, James entered the creative industry as a senior account executive at Sullivan Branding, and later joined First Tennessee Bank as Media Relations Manager where he combines his journalistic and public relations experience on a daily basis. He is an active parishioner at Calvary Episcopal Church, serves as president of the Memphis chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, volunteers as media outreach and public relations coordinator for Indie Memphis, and is a passionate advocate for social justice and civil rights.

As public relations and social media manager of creative communications consulting firm DCA, Cara Greenstein is responsible for cultivating relationships between clients, media, and the community. She has specialized in public engagement for clients from bridges and bike share to butcher shops and bars, crafting and fostering a differentiated and appropriate voice for each avenue. Cara holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Texas at Austin, where she founded food and lifestyle blog Caramelized, now a two-time winner of The Commercial Appeal’s Memphis Most awards. Cara also directs and leads communications for ConnecTI, Temple Israel’s young professional cohort that serves as the primary pipeline to lifelong Memphis Jewish engagement. Cara serves as the youngest board member of the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and St. Mary’s Episcopal School Alumnae.

Regina Morton is a lifelong learner and community volunteer. Since returning home to the Memphis area several years ago, she truly is ‘living life like it’s golden” because for her it is. She invests her time and resources in places that share her values in the areas of social justice, valuing one’s culture, faith, education and community service. Regina loves serving as a greeter at local theaters, at the National Civil Rights Museum and as an active member of a hospitality team for Room in the Inn. As a retired diversity manager from The Boeing Company in Seattle, Washington, she has used her talents as moderator for the Christian Church Disciples of Christ in the United States and Canada; a master facilitator for the church’s anti-racist pro-reconciling initiatives; and an accomplished local and regional church leader. As a life-long learner, being a senior auditor at The University of Memphis with new-found friends is the best of many worlds.

Saadia Omer is an attorney, raising three boys in Germantown, Tennessee. She was born in Pakistan, and came to New York at the age of 8. She barely knew English but quickly learned that “the land of opportunities” had many beautiful ways of making a person feel like they belong. Saadia moved to Texas at the age of 17, graduated from the University of Dallas with a BS in Chemistry, and received her JD at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law. Her main areas of practice are health and nonprofit law. Saadia is passionate about philanthropic and interfaith work. Currently, she is on the boards of the Memphis Islamic Center and the Memphis Friendship Foundation, where she serves as Secretary. She also serves as an advisory board member of the Center for Children, Law, and Ethics. Saadia’s children are the main reason she wants to make her community (local and national) a place she can be proud of, that will judge her children for their accomplishments and character, not their race or faith.

From 2012 – 2015, Dorian Spears has worked with government and community in the roles of Project Manager and Economic Development Specialist with the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, EDGE, and the current City Mayor’s Transition Team efforts. She is an entrepreneur and volunteer who serves in various capacities regarding resident and community driven development. Her community service includes serving on the board of the Center for Transforming Communities, being a philanthropist with GiVE 365, and volunteering for the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. Her time and experience in Atlanta, Georgia, while serving in AmeriCorps in the Atlanta Public School system in 2003 piqued her interest in all things social justice. She has been involved in some capacity over the last 17 years years serving underserved and marginalized communities to help achieve equity.

Other than being born in England and away while attending the University of Virginia, Tel Aviv University and graduating from Stanford University with a degree in American Studies, Alison Wetter is a lifelong Memphian. After school, she returned home where she worked as a paralegal before going to law school then practicing transactional law. After the death of her infant son due to a heart defect, Alison retired to focus on raising a family and giving back to her community. She enjoys volunteering and has served in leadership roles for her church and schools and for several nonprofits close to her heart. For the past four years, she has recused herself from most of her volunteer commitments to spend time preparing and researching for watch love work. She and her husband, Jimmy, have a 21-year old son, who is a junior at Elon University, as well as a dog and a cat, all of whom they love deeply. Alison also enjoys walking, learning, traveling and reading.

 


Creative Team

  • Michael Phillips, Project Manager
  • Perry Kirkland, Videographer
  • Mallory Strawn, Graphic Designer
  • Noah Glenn, Creative Consultant
  • Amanda Hill, Social Media Strategist
  • Keith Montgomery, Website Developer

Guest Filmmakers

Forever Ready Productions is based in Memphis. They specialize in fast-paced, timely content for nonprofits, small businesses and start-ups. The production company’s founder, Lauren Squires Ready, has more than a decade of award-winning video journalism experience. She and Video Producer Julie White work to create an impact narrative for any mission-driven organization. Visit www.foreverreadyllc.com for more information.


With Gratitude

  • Austin Baker
  • Mary Madison Baker
  • Bill Bradley
  • Laura Carpenter
  • Rajiv Chandrasekaran
  • Community Foundation of Greater Memphis
  • Sarah Cowan
  • Meg Crosby
  • Colleen Davis
  • DCA
  • Michelle Douglas
  • Michael Drake
  • Julie Ellis
  • Eyleen Farmer
  • Shantile Franklin
  • Margaret Fraser
  • Lynn Gardner
  • Jim and Lucia Gilliland
  • Chris Girata
  • Sally Heinz
  • Hope in the Cities
  • Initiatives of Change
  • Ricky Jenkins
  • Lauren Jeu
  • Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital
  • Leadership Memphis
  • Ben Lewis
  • Lichterman Loewenberg Foundation
  • Ilene Markell
  • Jodie Markell
  • Linda Marks
  • Harriet McFadden
  • Holley McGehee
  • Justin Miller
  • Servando Mireles
  • Snow Morgan
  • Joe Mulherin
  • Our families
  • Jeremy Park
  • Jay Philpott
  • Pallas Pidgeon
  • Murray Riss
  • Beverly Robertson
  • Ellen Rolfes
  • Tom Shadyac
  • Rufus Smith
  • Starbucks
  • Susan and Steve Tipler
  • May Todd
  • Phil Trenary
  • David Waters
  • Kirk Whalum
  • Russ Wigginton
  • Barbara Williams
  • Alex Wise
  • Jimmy Wetter
  • Anonymous